Monday, 16 February 2015

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Elysa Hendricks

1. Tell me about your book Must Love Cats - The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley and where you got your inspiration for it?

I've been a cat lover since before I can remember. The idea of Must Love Cats came about because if I died and came back as an animal, I'd chose to be a cat.

2. If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would you sing?

Sing? Who me? Not a chance. I know my limitations. While my father has a beautiful voice, and even sang with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme, I did NOT inherit a single note. So, while I can hear the song in my head it'll never come out of my mouth. Simon Cowell is so relieved.

3. Are the titles of your books important?

I love titles. I have a file filled with titles that someday I hope to write stories for.

So yes, I think titles are important. A title can give the reader a clue as to what kind of book they're going to be reading. Star Crash and Star Raiders, both scream sci-fi adventure, Or it can tease them into picking up the book to find out more. Must Love Cats - The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley makes the reader curious.

While with traditional publishing authors don't always have control over the titles of their books, with the advent of indie e-publishing authors can chose their own titles.

4. Are there any occupational hazards of bring a novelist?

Poverty. Carpal tunnel syndrome. Gaining weight. Becoming a hermit.

5. Have you ever written a book that you loved but were unable to get published?

I've written many books that haven't been and aren't likely to be published. My first novel Children Of The Mind, which still holds a special place in my heart, I never even submitted because I knew it wasn't ready to be seen. It was my kindergarten book. The story I used to learn how to write. Someday I may pull it out and see if it can be rewritten and edited into something fit for publication, but for now I'm busy with new story ideas. So it remains safely tucked under my bed, guarded by killer dust bunnies.

6. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I'm a masochist, I read my reviews. Bad reviews hurt, but I learned early on, however, to NEVER respond to them. My favourite "bad" review is for my sexy sci-fi romance Star Crash. The reviewer said, "this isn't anything other than pure porn, and badly written porn at that." While this review stung, my question is, how much porn do you have to read to know the difference between bad porn and good porn? My husband's answer, there is no such thing a bad porn. He has a twisted sense of humor. Guess that's why we managed to stay married and best friends for over 42 years.

7. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

There are subjects that don't inspire stories in me such as, vampires, politics or religion, but I can't say I'd never write a story with those subjects as a backdrop. I'm also not much into mysteries (I can never figure out who done it,) thrillers or suspense, but if a story idea comes to me that falls into one of these categories then I'll write it.

8. What do you like to read in your free time?

I love reading romance because I'm a sucker for a happy ending, but I'll read just about anything from historical to sci-fi, as long as it's a good story.

9. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

First read - a lot. Join a writer's group. Take a writing course, at your local college or online. Read books on writing. Learn the art and craft of writing, what makes a good story as well as the technical aspects of putting words together so the reader wants to read that story. And write - a lot. Like any skill it takes practice to get good at it.

10. What are you ambitions for your writing career?

My ambitions are simple - write good stories that people want to read. I've reached an age where the thought of fame and fortune no longer motivates me to write. Of course, a few extra dollars in my bank account wouldn't be turned away. I write because the characters who live in my mind and heart need me to tell their tales. Without me they'll never exist. Writing for me is like the escape valve on a pressure cooker. If I don't write, my head will explode.

11. Have you written any other novel in collaboration with another author?

A friend and I co-wrote a humorous women's fiction book.

Grannies & Trannies: Vegas or Bust combines the best of The Golden Girls with The Bird Cage on a wild, wacky, and heartfelt road trip to Las Vegas to rescue a friend from the mob. We're shopping it around to publishers.

12. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

I wish I were organized and disciplined enough to set myself daily goals, but I'm more of a hit and miss writer. When an idea hits me I'll sit and write for hours. Other times I have to force myself to keep my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard. Writing is hard work. I usually tell people I hate writing, but I love having written.

13. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

While several of my books are loosely linked together by subject and location, I don't really consider them a "series." My fantasy Moon books are set in an alternative universe and have some cross-over characters, but each book can be read and understood without having read the others. Same with my sci-fi romances Star Crash and Star Raiders. They're set in the same futuristic timeline.

The closest I've come to doing a series is my Council Falls stories. The Baby Race, Maggie Undercover and my Holiday in Council Falls short stories - Cupid's Apprentice, Lucky's Leprechaun, A Kitten For Christmas and The Christmas Village. Each story is set in the small town of Council Falls, IL and characters from one story are likely to show up in another.

My latest book Must Love Cats - The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley is also set in the town of Council Falls and is the first of what I'm hoping will be a series of nine books following the adventures of TC Riley as he plays matchmaker to various couples and redeems his soul.

14. What do you think of “trailers” for books?

While I enjoy watching trailers and have one for Dark Stat Dawning and Must Love Cats, I don't know how effective they are in marketing or selling books.

15. What happens when you get half scared to death twice?

A man finds a genie. The genie grants him three wishes, but warns him that whatever he wishes for his worst enemy will receive twice as much. He wishes for a million dollars and his enemy gets two. Then he wishes for a mansion and his enemy get two. For his last wish he asks the genie to scare him half to death.

16. What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Since my birthday is near the end of October every birthday party I had as a child was a Halloween themed costume party. Every year I was a witch. When I was young I was the scary, dark witch complete with warts. As I grew older I morphed into good, white, sexy witches ala Glinda. After raising two boys and dealing with their friends idea of Halloween fun - eggs thrown at the house and cars, garbage strewn on the front porch, and my car lifted and set sideways on the driveway (okay, that one was funny,) I became disenchanted with the holiday and stopped wearing costumes.

17. What would be the most gratifying thing a fan could do in your opinion?

Write and post a review then tell their friends, family, and strangers how much they love my work and why. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising a writer can have.

18. What’s your star sign? Do you read your horoscope and do you believe them?

I'm a Scorpio. Occasionally I'll read my horoscope, but can't say I believe in them. I know we're all made up of star matter, so the idea that the moon and stars can influence our lives isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility. I just don't think the horoscopes published in the paper or online really have much to tell me.

19. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why?

I've enjoyed every age I've been so far. As long as my body stays healthy and my mind stays sharp, age is merely a number. It's not how many years you've lived, it's how well you've lived them. That said, thirty-nine seems like a good age to be. Old enough to know things and young enough to care. Of course, I wouldn't want to live forever at any age unless the people I love could do so as well.

20. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Growing up I was the "good girl." I never gave my parents grief or caused any trouble. My motto for "real" life is and has always been "boring is good, excitement is vastly overrated." I save all the trouble, adventure, and excitement for the characters in my books.

21. Where’s Waldo?

Last I looked Waldo is in central Ohio, just north of Columbus. Population 331. If you want to know more: Looks like a nice little town.

22. What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?

Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. I love movies about animals, especially ones based on true events. Since I live in the Tampa, FL area, someday soon I'm going to take a ride over to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and see Winter and Hope, the dolphins that the movies are based on. I'll just have to get someone else to drive because just thinking about them makes me tear up.

23. What is the one thing you always wanted as a kid but never got?

When I was eleven my beloved cat, Spooky died just before Halloween. That year I wanted a kitten for Christmas. Christmas came and there was no kitten. Not wanting to upset my family I went down into the basement and cried, more for the cat I'd lost than the one I didn't get. In March of the next year I got a calico kitten I named Casandra, Sandy for short. She was with us for eighteen years.


Thomas Cash (TC) Riley is mad, bad and –dead. Killed in a one car wreck the twenty-nine-year old playboy is given one last chance to redeem himself for living a selfish, unfulfilled life and to determine his soul’s final destination.

To help his young daughter recover from the loss of her mother, Daniel Bishop, a widower who dislikes the country and is allergic to anything with fur, has moved back to his wife’s rural hometown to be close to her large family.

Katherine Sinclair, the local veterinarian and the single mother of an adventurous ten-year old son, is wary of the handsome newcomer. Once before she’d given her heart to a wealthy, charming man and she’d ended up pregnant and alone.

With the help of a lonely little girl and a brash young boy, can TC find a way to bring these two damaged people together? Can he remember his past and save his soul in the allotted time?

And can he do it all as a cat?

Check out the book trailer here

About Elysa
Elysa Hendricks is 5'6" tall. She has curly hair and brown eyes. She's an author, a wife, a mother and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice. Elysa enjoys writing stories set in different places, times, and realities. She's published 14 full-length books, ranging from sweet contemporary to sexy sci-fi, as well as numerous short stories. While living in north east Illinois she helped found several chapters of Romance Writers of America. She's taught workshops on writing at writer’s conferences and at community colleges.
Recently relocated to sunny Florida, she and her husband Vern are volunteer staff at the new Sun City Center community radio station WSCQ-FM 96.3

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